01/12/2016 - 15:46

New home, structure for Screenwest

01/12/2016 - 15:46

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Job creation and increased investment in the local industry are among the hoped-for outcomes of Screenwest’s move to new headquarters and planned change in corporate structure.

New home, structure for Screenwest
Ian Booth says the change of corporate structure will allow Screenwest to be more responsive. Photo: courtesy of Screenwest.

Job creation and increased investment in the local industry are among the hoped-for outcomes of Screenwest’s move to new headquarters and planned change in corporate structure.

Announced at the official opening of its new headquarters at the ABC building in East Perth today, the state’s peak body for screen funding and development is expected to become a ‘company limited by guarantee’ by July next year.

Speaking at the official opening of the new offices today Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said a new corporate structure could boost the Western Australian screen industry and the agency, as the changes would make it easier for Screenwest to form market partnerships and source funding leveraged from third parties, including the Commonwealth.

Screenwest chief executive Ian Booth said the new company structure was similar to other performing arts organisations in the state.

“It’ll allow us to be more responsive and flexible to industry change and opportunity,” Mr Booth told Business News.

“Rather than being within a government sphere, the types of opportunities we can focus on are broad.

“There’s potential for a philanthropic arm and corporate support, things that are limited in government, as those who want to support may not always do so because they instead feel the government does.” 

Mr Booth said the idea wasn’t to necessarily enlarge the size of Screenwest, but increase the potential for jobs in the screen industry by creating more production opportunities through increased freedom from its current government approvals procedure.

“The move is something we’ve been considering internally for a long period of time,” he said.  

“We were close to government stakeholders but we weren’t as connected to the screen industry itself.

“So through working with the minister and the Department of Culture and the Arts, an opportunity arose that would give us a better profile as an agency and have a better connection with our clients.”

Mr Day said the move was an important first step in the formation of an East Perth creative hub.

He said having quality infrastructure and accessible and skilled local crews would help put WA in a strong position in the competitive production marketplace, and that the hub would complement Screenwest’s innovative funding incentives, including the $16 million Western Australian Regional Film Fund.

“This is about fostering a critical mass for creativity,” Mr Day said.

“The East Perth creative hub promises an exciting new home and to drive even more screen industry investment.

“The hub will be a production incubator, providing headquarters for Screenwest as well as offices and co-working spaces for producers and creatives, for short or long-term lease.”

The screen industry will be able to hire the purpose-built ABC film and television studios, as well as its support facilities including make-up, costume, green rooms, props storage and sound and post-production facilities.

Mr Booth said Screenwest had been co-collaborating and building on its strong relationship with the ABC for a while.

“The difference is now we have the opportunity to help promote and link industry opportunities,” he said.

“We will definitely be working with ABC to find right ways to ensure resources are used as much as possible for production opportunities, to build a creative hub in East Perth for practitioners and creative industry partners to come work with us.”

One recent collaboration included work on the new film Red Dog True Blue, which will be released to Australian cinemas on Boxing Day.

Mr Booth said even though 80 per cent of the film was shot in the Pilbara region, some scenes, such as the interiors of the homestead needed a studio, which was shot at the ABC.

“In the last financial year we had seven feature films, which is very significant when you consider there’s only 20-25 released per year in Australia,” he said.

“They range in size but some of the bigger ones included Breath with Simon Baker and Jasper Jones with Toni Collette and Huge Weaving.” 

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